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North Chicago voters nominate Rockingham for another term

LeRockingham North Chicago Mayor. | Special Sun-Times Media

Leon Rockingham, North Chicago Mayor. | Special to Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 28, 2013 6:41AM

Tuesday’s blizzard may have been a blessing for North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham, who prevailed in the Democratic primary election despite a spate of bad press over the past two years that included allegations of police brutality and related lawsuits, alleged theft by his own police chief, pervasive grumbling over high taxes and water rates, and most recently, the shooting death of young mom Janay McFarlane.

Rockingham easily won the race. According to unofficial totals, he earned 39 percent of 1,031 votes cast. Third Ward Ald. Valerie DeVost was the next highest vote-getter with 27 percent.

Rockingham, who has spent a total of 20 years in elected office, including three terms as alderman, is not giving the blizzard all the credit.

“I focused on my key voters, the ones who will come out whether there’s snow or not,” said Rockingham, adding he was grateful for voter support in light of the adversity the city has endured.

“I really want to thank the voters who supported me,” he said. “They believe in me, that I am going in the right direction.”

Rockingham said he will take a week off before preparing for the general election this spring, when he will face independent challenger and vocal critic of his administration, 7th Ward Ald. Charles January.

Rockingham said his faith has helped him through a “rough year.”

“Every place I turned, there was conflict,” he said. “God has brought me through a lot. He has not left me, even with the passing of my wife. I think my wife was with me in the midst of this election. My kids, friends, family —they all played a big part. I truly want to see the city prosper.

Fourth Ward Ald. Bobby Allen, who won election to office in 2007 by a single vote, but who lost this contest by an unofficial 165 votes, congratulated Rockingham on his victory.

“My team worked hard,” Allen said. “I’m not putting it on the weather. I’m not making excuses. People could have voted early. The people have decided who they want to be mayor in 2013.”

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